Can video games reduce stress and anxiety, and take care of our health? We offer you five relaxing and positive games, loaded with good karma that help us disconnect from the busy pace of life. We do not know if they are therapeutic, but they will surely make you feel good while you play. Guaranteed!

Video games have been controversial since they were invented more than 50 years ago. That they isolate young people, that they promote sedentary lifestyle, and other accusations that could be applied to any activity that is abused. But playing video games in reasonable sessions is no different than watching a movie or reading a good book .

Video games are one of the main sources of entertainment. They amuse us and distract us, but they also excite us, relax us and lift our spirits. ¿ video games be therapeutic ?

Let’s take a look at five relaxing games that can help us reduce stress and anxiety from the busy daily life.

It is a difficult subject to deal with, because each person fights stress differently. Some prefer to pump up adrenaline by annihilating a horde of demons in Doom , or going scary in The Evil Within 2 .

We are going to focus on finding the best relaxing , positive games that invite us to visit dream scenes, have calming music and transmit good vibes. We will dive among marine dinosaurs, we will get into the mind of an ant, and we will drive a truck loaded with food for crocodiles along the dusty roads of New Mexico. Intrigued? Let yourself go, and you won’t regret it …

ODE

Price: € 4.99
Developer: Reflections
Musical genre
Available: PC

ODE is a real surprise. Ubisoft has kept its development a secret, to the point that it was released a day after announcing it.

The new bizarre version of Reflections, authors of Grow Home and Grow Up , is difficult to classify. It is even difficult to call it a video game because there are no missions, there are no enemies, there are no obstacles that prevent you from advancing.

ODE is an audiovisual experience, a sensory experience that puts us in the shoes of a strange creature that walks inside a bubble. Four alien-looking planets must be explored for fallen stars. Picking them up activates musical mechanisms. Combined with our actions on stage, different types of rhythms and musical compositions are created. 

The beauty of the scenes, what Ubisoft defines as a happy trip , transmits joy and optimism. And the catchy rhythms, that you create yourself, help to concentrate the mind and prevent it from thinking about other things, achieving that moment of abstraction that helps us to relax and reduce stress .

At the moment ODE is only available for PC, exclusively in the Ubisoft store, UPlay.

ABZÛ

Price: € 19.99
Developer: Giant Squid
Genre: Exploration
Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC

It is impossible to define in words the infinite beauty of Abzû . Not even the trailer you can see above does it justice. A simple camera turn, a crack in an underwater cave through which our diver sneaks in, is a window to an idyllic view of the seabed, which leaves us speechless.

At Abzû we are a robot whose only ability is to dive. Well, and it also connects with sea creatures. But we don’t know why. We explore the wonders of the ocean discovering new species of fish, until we realize that there is something hidden there. Something dangerous and strange that, in some way, is related to the protagonist. Down there, many miles deep, someone is waiting for us .

There is only one thing more beautiful in  Abzû than the artistic design and the overwhelming seabed. Austin Wintory’s music. Cheerful, vital, evocative. One of the best BSOs in recent years. Put the trailer on and turn the volume up to maximum to check it out.

The free exploration of the ocean floor and the incredible soundtrack, together with the mysteries that  Abzû hides , makes us forget our worries, projecting a feeling of optimism and joy in life. A relaxing game worthy successor to Journey .

  • Abzu analysis

American Truck Simulator

Price: € 19.99
Developer: SCS Software
Genre: Driving simulator
Available: PC

A 17-ton truck, American music on the radio, and a 50-kilometer long stretch of New Mexico’s dusty, empty roads. There is no better therapy to reduce anxiety and stress . It is a cult game for precisely that reason. It is played by police, executives and even retired truckers who need a little routine in their lives.

In American Truck Simulator you load the truck with a good consignment of bricks for the construction, you take the mythical Route 66 road of Alburqueque, and you drive 500 kilometers at dawn while you watch the guns of the Old West parade through the window. It’s just you, your trusty Kenworth W900 truck, and 6,500 miles of road. Everything else does not matter.

But don’t relax too much. The merchandise must be in Santa Fe the day after tomorrow, and a delay will make you lose the contract …

Stardew valley

Price: € 13.99
Developer: ConcernedApe
Genre: Simulation, role-playing
Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch

In Stardew Valley you are an urbanite tired of life in the city that is going to live on his grandfather’s farm, now in ruins. Wait … This game is about taking care of a farm? Really? You are right. Stop accumulating deaths on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds for a moment , and read on. Yes, I am telling you. And you, the one who does not stop making life impossible for the Cabal in Destiny 2 . Take that hoe there, and plant a lettuce. All right. Now another. And another. No, not enough yet. Otherwise you will starve. You have to plant tomatoes, wheat, and some fruit trees. And make firewood. And while you’re at it, fish for dinner at the nearby lake. And explore those mines, see if you can find some metals to sell.

In a few days your friends from PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds and Destiny 2 will miss you. They will beg you to return to them, but it is useless. You will be too busy harvesting the harvest, and you will have no time for nonsense. You will also feel more focused and relaxed , more confident in yourself. You are farmers, and you have not starved.

Ah, in Stardew Valley you also have to deal with the townspeople, and you can even flirt and marry some of them. Suddenly everything is more interesting, right?

Everything

Price: € 14.99
Developer: David Dreilly
Genre: Indescribable
Available: PS4, PC

One of the mindfulness exercises   to relax is to imagine that you are a stone. What would a stone think, if it could think? It is not an easy exercise, and it takes time and training to do it well. In Everything you start as a stone. In three seconds of game you have saved a fortune in psychologists and yoga sessions. What do you have to say to that, Jon Kabat-Zinn ?

We actually start with a wrong idea. Everything is not a game, it is a therapy session. A free philosophy lesson (well, the € 15 the game costs), which makes you ask yourself who you are, what your role is in the world, and why you can’t stop playing a game in which the Narrator is a famous philosopher who died in 1973. Yes, you are hearing his true voice. Unfortunately the game is in English, and you need to understand these recordings.

In Everything you start as a stone, so you do the only thing you can do. Roll. You roll slowly until you realize that it can make other stones follow you, or mark a dance with you. Yes it’s strange. That’s what it’s about. Everything will break all your mental schemes. You soon discover that although you are a stone, animals and things speak to you. Or rather, they throw questions at you that make your head pop. Are you miserable Why are the stones gray? Would you like to fly? Then you find out what the name of the game means. In Everythingyou can become everything. Absolutely everything. You can be an ant, a bacteria that zigzags in a raindrop, or a galaxy that escapes from a black hole. And a million things in between. Your way of understanding life changes with each one of them.

It is a terrifying game, because there is no objective. And that scares a lot of people. You play your own way, and only your imagination will entertain you. If you can’t last more than ten minutes, you still have a lot to learn from life, young Padawan … 

There are plenty of other relaxing games that help combat stress and anxiety , but we know that a stressed person’s attention span is limited, so we’ll leave it here. If you want to explore some more, take a look at this list with more relaxing games that are worth:

  • Firewatch
  • The Bridge
  • Little Inferno
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Mountain
  • Proteus
  • Dangerous Golf
  • Lara Croft Go
  • Rez Infinite
  • The Witness
  • Puyo Puyo Tetris
  • Everybody’s gone to the Rapture
  • Picross S
  • Voice

 

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